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The 9 Best Exercises for Sweet, Sweet Sciatica Pain Relief In Springfield, IL


TFW sciatica pain is shooting flaming balls of glass through the lower back

Sciatic nerve pain is a monster from Mordor. It was forged in the fires of Mount Doom, right next to that ring that would rule them all. As a chiropractor for sciatica in Springfield, Illinois, I’ve put out many fires started by a flaming ball of glass flying through my practice.

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body, which means it’s capable of causing a lot of pain. It originates in the lower back and travels down both legs. Both legs! When the spine is out of alignment vertebrae compress the sciatic nerve which sends pain shooting throughout the lower back and down the legs making walking, standing, and sitting near impossible.


Prescribed exercise has proven to be much more effective at relieving sciatica pain than bed rest or even trying to resume daily activities. This may seem strange, but the structured, repetitive, and progressive process of the exercises is what makes them so effective. When sciatica flares up, if it doesn’t cause a sufferer to dig a hole that they can be buried in, it’s common to ice the area and limit activity. Unfortunately, inactivity usually leads to an increase in pain. At the Springfield Wellness Center, we create a custom exercise program that helps to:

  • Increase muscle strength
  • Improve bone health
  • Enhance blood flow
  • Nourish spinal discs
  • Reduce stiffness of the sciatic nerve

Without exercise, our back muscles and spinal structures become weak which leads to further trauma. We create a routine that is tailored to the specific underlying cause of each patient’s sciatica whether that be a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, or spondylolisthesis.

1. Pelvic Tilt


One of the most important exercises for sciatica pain relief is the pelvic tilt. They help to strengthen the infamous core, which is vital for all movement. Many of these other exercises build upon this foundation. So learn to love it.

Lie on the back with the knees bent and feet flat against the ground. Pull in the belly button, the lower back will automatically flatten towards the ground and the pelvis will tilt up towards the chest. Hold this position for 20 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times to complete one set of this exercise.

2. Press-Up

Press-ups are known by many, much more interesting, names like scorpion, up-dog, and sphinx. They redistribute the discomfort from the limbs and isolate it to the lower back where the problem originates and may be treated more effectively.

To do a basic press-up, lie face down and very slowly, while keeping the hips on the floor, prop the upper body onto the hands. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then lower back down to the ground. Aim to complete 10 repetitions gradually working up to 30 seconds per repetition. If this exercise seems too difficult, start with your upper body propped on your elbows to reduce the intensity.

3. Straight Leg Raise

This exercise strengthens the core to help prevent sciatica from recurring. Start by performing a pelvic tilt.


Straighten one leg and raise it 6 to 8 inches from the floor. Repeat 10 times then repeat with the other leg.

4. Back Flexion

Forward bending exercises, or flexion for those snobs among us, work best for sciatica that is caused by spinal stenosis by helping to relieve pressure on the constricted nerve.

To perform a back flexion exercise, lie on the back with legs rested flat on the ground. Gently pull one knee to the chest, until the stretch can be felt across the lower back. Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides. Aim for 4-6 repetitions of this exercise.

5. Hook-Lying March

The hook-lying march is more than just a combination of words that shouldn’t really go together. It is a great exercise to stabilize the spine. Strengthening the muscles that support the spine prevents misalignments – or subluxations – which irritate the nerves and cause pain and dysfunction.

Start by performing a pelvic tilt.


Lie on the back with knees bent, engaging the core to flatten the small of the spine faint the floor. Raise one foot at a time an inch or two off the floor and then alternate. Continue “marching” for 30 seconds. Perform two or three reps, taking a 30-second break in between.

6. Bridge

This is a great exercise in tandem with the Hook-Lying March to strengthen those spine stabilizers. Lie on the back keeping feet flat and bending both knees. Slowly lift the booty 6-7 inches up from the floor and hold for 8-10 seconds. Return to the starting position slowly. Do this until the rangers come by to say the park is closed.

7. Prone Leg

Posture is so important to our overall health, but no one seems to know that. Maintaining proper spinal strutter can help us avoid pain and disease. That’s all it takes, sitting up straight.


Lie face down, with feet and arms at the side. Slowly raise one leg until it’s two inches off the floor and then give the other leg a turn. I never said any of these exercises were challenging, that must have been an ignorant assumption from a lazy reader.


8. Abdominal Curl-Up

This is basically a sit-up. Start with a pelvic tilt


Lift the head and shoulders toward the ceiling and hold this position for a few seconds before returning to the floor. There should be no neck pain from this exercise, so feel free to support the neck, but don’t lift with the hands. Complete 2 sets of 10 curls before starting to complain.

9. Pigeon

Chiropractor For Sciatica In Springfield IL

Pain relief for sciatica may be possible by performing exercises that stretch the piriformis muscle. Start on all fours. Place the affected foot underneath and across your body, making sure to keep the pelvis straight. Extend all of your other limbs out behind you until you feel a deep stretch in the hip and buttock. Hold for 30 seconds then slowly return to starting position. Aim for three repetitions of this stretch on each side before transitioning.


Any customized sciatica exercise program that’s worth its weight in salt will focus on building core muscle strength, improving hamstring flexibility, and practicing aerobic exercises. These exercises help to stabilize the spine, isolate the pain, and prevent further injury. A chiropractic adjustment is most likely necessary to correct the spinal structure and take pressure off of the very emotionally abusive sciatic nerve.

Call us or schedule a time to meet with one of our amazing doctors. Our chiropractic care will get to the root cause of the issue and correct it, to put an end to the debilitating pain and discomfort.

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